Gyeongbok Palace Tour (Rise and Shine)

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Tour No: 01
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Korea has a long and fascinating history whose legacy remains today in the form of beautiful palaces and ceremonies. Go on a journey through time with our rise and shine Gyeongbok Palace tour! Don’t miss the chance to discover the most iconic highlights of Seoul!

Free Cancellation When cancelling by 5pm the day before most tours. See Details.

Gyeongbokgung tour – What to Expect

Our Gyeongbok Palace tour is perfect for those who have an appetite for history and love to follow in the footsteps of the kings and queens from the Joseon Dynasty. One of our most popular Tours in Seoul, our itinerary takes you through the key areas of the city that have a cultural significance.

Looking at the beautiful bright colored Geunjeongjeon throne hall from within Gyeongbok Palace
Geunjeongjeon is the largest and most formal hall at Gyeongbokgung Palace.

You will visit Gyeongbok Palace (Gyeongbokgung) one of the 5 grand palaces and the one favoured by the Joseon Kings as their main residence. It showcases extraordinary architecture, beautiful colours, patterns and pretty gardens.

Gyeongbokgung was originally built in 1395 under King Taejo, but the grounds were further expanded during the reign of King Taejong and King Sejong the Great.

Today only a few of the buildings from the 19th century were able to survive both the Japanese occupation of Korea and the Korean War. These buildings include Geunjeongjeon Hall, Hyangwonjeong Pavilion and Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. So be sure to ask your tour guide lots of questions and take an extra close look at these unique pieces of architectural history during our tour.

Gyeongbok Palace tour – Course Overview

Our Gyeongbokgung tour itinerary begins by picking you up from your hotel in Seoul. We will head over to Jogyesa which is the most important Buddhist temple in all of Korea. We will watch the famous Changing of the Guard Ceremony, so you better have your camera charged and ready to go!

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion is a stunning, large piece of architecture sitting upon a large pond on the West side of Gyeongbokgung
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion can be found on the west side of the palace shortly after entering via Gwanghwamun gate.

Our next stop will be Gyeongbokgung Palace which contains thousands of years of history and is one of the most important highlights of Seoul. We will have the chance to see the Blue House and its stunning surroundings. Then, we will explore Cheongwadae Sarangchae where we will learn about Korean politics. Finally, we will stop by a shopping center before dropping you off at either City Hall or Itaewon, which are both central locations and will allow you to continue your day as you wish!

Don’t miss the opportunity to discover the essence of the city and its rich history with our full day Seoul City Tour!

Jogyesa Temple – Discover the Heart of Korean Buddhism

Our Gyeongbok Palace tour begins with a visit to Jogyesa Temple. As the principal temple of the Jogye Order, this monument has stood the test of time.

Looking through the beautiful main entrance gate and into Jogyesa temple
Jogyesa was built in 1395 and features a mix of both royal and temple architectural elements.

Jogyesa was built in 1395 and features a mix of both royal and temple architectural elements. Here you will see the golden Buddha statues and the iconic lanterns of Jogyesa.

You will be able to explore the Hill of Supreme Bliss (Geuknakjeon) which is where the Buddha was enshrined. Jogyesa features the Daeungjeon (Main Buddha Hall) which is decorated with pine wood from the Baekdu Mountain. Here, you will be able to hear holy chanting.

Don’t forget to visit the main temple courtyard where you will see the Chinese Scholar Tree that is more than 500 years old!

Changing of the Guard – Witness an Iconic Ceremony

Gyeongbokgung royal palace guards performing their duty during the changing of the guard ceremony
This iconic ceremony has been carried out for 400 years.

Our Gyeongbokgung tour would not be complete without seeing the famous Changing of the Guard Ceremony! This ritual has persisted through time and has been carried out in the exact same way for more than 400 years!

Here you will see the royal palace guards (Wanggung Sumunjang) dressed in colorful royal uniforms and marching in specific formations.

The guards carry traditional weapons and accompany the march with music. Don’t miss the chance to observe such a fascinating and entertaining ritual!

Soak Up the Timeless History and Resilience of Gyeongbokgung

The main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung is a real historical and cultural treasure. A part of the Five Grand Palaces, the structure was built all the way back in 1395 and has gone through a lot of turmoil over the years.

A family on our Gyeongbok Palace tour taking a photo in front of Gwanghwamun gate
Gwanghwamun is the royal palace gate and the main entrance into Gyeongbokgung.

In the 20th century during the Japanese occupation, the palace was badly destroyed with 90 percent of the buildings being completely demolished. An active restoration took place in the year 1990 which is why today you will see all of the structures in a good condition, still bearing the marks of history on their walls.

Gyeongbok Palace is built against the backdrop of the stunning Mount Bugak which makes it the perfect place for photos.

You will walk through the main entrance and follow your tour guide who will select the best route for your group. Some of the major highlights here include Geunjeongjeon (the Throne Hall) where you can see a beautiful ornate ceiling with lots of architectural detail.

Looking at the beautiful Hyangwonjeong Pavilion sitting on a small island in the middle of Hyangwonji pond inside Gyeongbok Palace grounds. Bright green leaves on the trees and clear blue skies can be seen surrounding the building
King Gojong built Hyangwonjeong Pavilion in the middle of Hyangwonji pond in 1873.

There is also the private royal library, Jibokje, which is the home to many different books from around the globe.

You will notice heavy Chinese influence when it comes to the design of this two-floor building. Hyangwonjeong Pavilion is one of the most beautiful parts of the palace, surrounded by tranquil water and trees.

In 2011, there was a poll conducted among tourists where the results showed that Gyeongbokgung was the number one most scenic place to visit in all of Seoul! See what it’s all about on our Gyeongbokgung Palace tour!

Please note: Gyeongbok Palace is closed every Tuesday, and so on Tuesdays only we will visit the lovely Deoksu Palace instead.

Blue House – Visit the President’s Home

The Blue House is the official residence of the Korean president. Don’t miss the opportunity to see its elegant exterior and walk the perimeter. The Blue House combines typically Korean architectural elements as well as modern influences to give it a unique look.

Outside Cheongwadae or better known as the Blue House which is South Korea's presidential residence
Cheongwadae translated as “Blue House” is the equivalent of the White House in the USA and is the Korean president’s residence.

An interesting fact about the building is that it’s the most protected sight in all of Asia!

The location of the Blue House is quite special. It’s built right upon the site of the royal garden of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910).

Standing here, you will be surrounded by four great mountains. To the North is the stunning Bukhansan, to the West is Naksan, to the East you’ll see Inwangsan and to the South Namsan mountain protects the capital. Thus you will have the feeling of shelter. In addition not too far in front of the complex lies the pretty Cheonggyecheon stream which eventually empties into the main Han River.

Cheongwadae Sarangchae – Get Familiar with Korea’s Presidents

Are you interested in history and politics? Then the last stop on our Gyeongbok Palace tour – Cheongwadae Sarangchae is the perfect place for you! The exhibition which is located right in front of the Blue House has two floors.

Two guests having their names written in Korean inside Cheongwadae Sarangchae
Inside Cheongwadae Sarangchae taking part in an event.

The first floor presents exhibitions that vary in themes, such as traditional clothing, food, and music. Right next to the exhibition hall, you will find a souvenir shop where you can buy magnets, cups, t-shirts, and key chains for your friends or for yourself in order to remember the experience.

The second floor is dedicated to politics and takes you through the timeline of each Korean president’s governance, coupled with interesting facts and photos. Here, you will also find a map of the most beautiful and noteworthy places to visit in the country.

Please note: Cheongwadae Sarangchae is closed every Monday.

Are you looking to dive into Korea’s history and culture? Then our Gyeongbok Palace tour is the perfect choice for you! Don’t miss the chance to follow in the footsteps of royal history, see the President’s home, and witness an iconic ceremony!

Child Discount

  • Children (3-9): 30% discount

Gyeongbok Palace tour Itinerary

  • Seoul Hotel Pickup
  • Jogyesa Buddhist Temple
  • Changing of the Guard Ceremony
  • Gyeongbok Palace (Deoksu Palace on Tuesday’s only)
  • President’s Blue House
  • Cheongwadae Sarangchae (closed on Mondays)
  • Shopping Center
  • Drop-off (City Hall or Itaewon)

Our Gyeongbokgung tour includes

  • Free Hotel Pickup service
  • VIP tour guide
  • Transportation
  • Entrance Fees and Tickets

2 reviews for Gyeongbok Palace Tour (Rise and Shine)

  1. Avatar
    5 out of 5

    Robin

    Booked the family on this tour. Was a good amount of time for us to see the changing of the guards and look around the palace before it gets too busy. Timing was god for us as the kids didn’t have enough time to get bored so we were able to enjoy too. Thinking to book the half day folk village tour as well as our guide recommend it as a good option for families with younger ones.

    • Holly

      Holly VIP Travel

      Dear, Robin
      Above all thank you for the Rise and Shine to

      Yes the changing of the guards ceremony is kind of interesting for the little ones as as all the guards wear traditional clothes.
      Hope you could join some other tours with us next time when you visit Korea .

      Thank you
      Holly

  2. Avatar
    5 out of 5

    Teddy

    Quick morning tour with the highlight for me being Gyeongbokgung palace. The temple was interesting too as they are usually in the mountains I think. Decided to jump off at Itaewon so I could take a walk around the other side of Seoul in the afternoon. Nice tour as it gives you a quick orientation and then sets you up for the afternoon.

    • Holly

      Holly VIP Travel

      Dear, Teddy
      Above all thank you for the review of Reise and Shine tour .

      This is the half morning city tour , so you can be dropped off to the City hall or Itaewon to enjoy your afternoon : )
      You can gain some quick history of Korea with our knowledge tour guide .

      If you ever come back to Korea , Please join some other tours with us
      Thank yoy
      Holly

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